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MathAcrossCampus Lecture - Branching Out Across the Solar System

Taylor Perron, MIT
Friday, February 19, 2016 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
Kane 110

River networks, which
branch like tree limbs across the landscape, are one of Earth’s most widespread
and recognizable surface features. They have also been discovered on two other
Solar System bodies, Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan. What do these striking
landscape patterns tell us about the histories of alien worlds? I will show how
mathematical and computational descriptions of slow-acting geological
processes, combined with measurements of today’s landscapes, have provided a
new perspective on the origin and evolution of river networks. I will then
direct your gaze to Titan, where an exotic cocktail of materials and conditions
has formed a deceptively Earth-like landscape, and show what our Earthly
knowledge can teach us about this mysterious world.


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